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IAEA and China Focus on the Future in First Nuclear Energy Management School in China


Participants take part in the recent China-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management School. (Photo: IAEA)

More than 50 young professionals from 11 countries took part in the IAEA’s first Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School in China. The two-week virtual event in December focused on cultivating future managers of nuclear energy and nuclear applications programmes.

The China-IAEA NEM School, organized in cooperation with China’s Nuclear Industry College, concentrated on building leadership skills for supporting nuclear energy development in countries just beginning or expanding their nuclear power programmes. The training also provided an overview of the key issues and challenges associated with the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, and explored nuclear power’s key role in mitigating climate change and moving to net zero energy systems.

“China has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience that are important assets to the international nuclear community,” said Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. “As more and more countries seek to use nuclear energy to address challenges from climate change to energy security, the Agency is pleased to help interested Member States strengthen their know-how by learning from China’s experience in the field of nuclear energy.”

IAEA-NEM Schools are typically held in cooperation with local universities or nuclear organizations and this year’s school was no exception. Twenty-four IAEA experts and 12 Chinese specialists delivered lectures, while several online live sessions, including two panel discussions, created dynamic discussion between the students and their instructors.

Through a variety of courses and activities, students learned about China’s broad experience of using nuclear energy to diversify energy sources and combat climate change. A virtual visit gave students a close-up look at the latest nuclear power plants operating in China.

China, which generates about 5% of its electricity from 54 nuclear power reactors, is working hard to expand its nuclear capacity. It already has the world’s third largest nuclear reactor fleet as well as 14 reactors under construction — the largest number in the world. The new 1000 MWe Fuqing-6 reactor went online in January just a few weeks after China successfully passed another milestone, the connection of its first High Temperature Gas-Cooled Pebble-Bed Reactor Module.

“Students are welcome to visit China’s nuclear enterprises and facilities after the pandemic has eased, so as to have a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of China’s nuclear energy development and promote mutual learning and common progress,” said Ge Deng, Secretary General of the China Atomic Energy Authority.

The School attracted many young professionals, with 89 aspiring nuclear sector managers from 11 nations applying to participate. Out of those, 52 were selected based on pre-training test results.

Some 30 so-called “nuclear newcomers” countries are embarking on or considering the introduction of nuclear power. Last year, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates connected their first reactors to the grid, while Bangladesh and Türkiye are making progress in building their first reactors. Several other countries including South Africa are looking to expand their nuclear power fleet.

“The content covered by the School was quite intensive,” said Salaminah Mashike, specialist at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation. “It provided a holistic view of the elements required to work on a nuclear energy project. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the programme.”

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